North Port group turns tragedy into learning opportunity about mental health, depression

Holly's Hope

NORTH PORT, Fla. (WWSB) - After the North Port community suffered a tragic loss of one of its teachers back in 2017, a group was formed to help open the dialogue of mental health and depression. Now, they’re taking it one step further and hoping to make that conversation start in the classrooms.

“If any part of her brain was operating, she would never do this. Her logic was destroyed," Joan Morgan said.

Two and a half years ago, Joan Morgan lost her daughter to suicide. Police say holly fisher shot her husband in the hand and chest, then shot herself on February 11, 2017. She was a sixth grade teacher at Heron Creek Middle School in North Port and was very involved in the community.

“She did it all, and I think probably when it wasn’t her anymore, she couldn’t handle it. Maybe? I don’t know," Morgan explained, "The stigma of talking about depression has got to end. If people could be caught at that one moment when they’re in the deepest, darkest that they could be, if the right person was talking to them at that time.. things could change.”

That’s when Holly’s Hope was created – to educate and empower our community to reduce suicide rates and help those who have lived through it. The Morgan family says that while Holly is the focal point, she’s not the only one they made this organization for. They want to bring awareness to mental health – especially in the younger generation.

“There’s so many. We have to do something about it. We are told now that one-fifth of students in the classrooms are suffering from depression,” Morgan told us.

Holly’s Hope has now teamed up with Charlotte County to help start the conversations about depression and suicide. “Choices and Chances" is a film that focuses on the turbulent world of today’s youth.

“The teenagers today are living in a high-paced world where everything is on social media and everything is happening so fast. There’s no way to get away from it. With choices and chances, were looking at the story-lines of people’s lives, and we’re covering it in away that you can watch it from beginning to end and then have a discussion abut those really difficult topics afterwards," Elizabeth Tracy, the film’s producer and CCTV Program Manager, explained to us.

“We need to talk about it. We need to end it. We need to help each other. I mean, without the help that we’ve gotten from the local people, we wouldn’t be where we are today… but so much more is needed," added Morgan.

The film was produced and shot locally in areas throughout Charlotte County and highlights resources available there, but it was made to be shown all across the country.

“All it has to be packaged with is the resources that are available in that community, and really talk about those resources after the film is shown," Tracy said.

“Choices and Chances” will be playing at North Port City Hall on Thursday, October 17th at 6 p.m.

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